Science Night 4/23

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature Snow Monkeys at 7 pm
In the frigid valleys of Japan’s Shiga Highlands, a troop of snow monkeys make their way and raise their families in a complex society of rank and privilege where each knows their place. Their leader is still new to the job and something of a solitary grouch. But one little monkey, innocently unaware of his own lowly social rank, reaches out to this lonely leader, forming a bond with him that manages over time to warm his less than sunny disposition. It is a rare and remarkable gesture that alters both their lives. Changing seasons bring new babies to care for, a profusion of insects and blossoms to eat, family disagreements to squabble over and tragedies to overcome. Mating season brings competition for females as the days grow shorter and colder in a rush toward winter. But with their now confident leader to guide them and their families to shelter and care for them, this troop of snow monkeys is ready to face the world.

NOVA Inside Animal Minds: Who’s The Smartest?
What would it be like to go inside the mind of an animal? We have all gazed into a creature’s eyes and wondered: what is it thinking about? What does it really know? Now, the revolutionary science of animal cognition is revealing hard evidence about how animals understand the world around them, uncovering their remarkable problem-solving abilities and exploring the complexity of their powers of communication and even their emotions. In this mini-series, NOVA explores these breakthroughs through three iconic creatures: dogs, birds and dolphins. We’ll travel into the spectacularly nuanced noses of dogs and wolves, and ask whether their reliance on different senses has shaped their evolution. We’ll see through the eyes of a starling in flight and test the tool-using skills of the smartest of birds, the crow. We’ll listen in as scientists track dolphins in the Caribbean and elephants on the African savannah, trying to unlock the secrets of animal communication. As we discover how researchers are pushing the animal mind to its limits, we’ll uncover surprising similarities to — and differences from — the human mind. What makes an animal smart? Many scientists believe the secret lies in relationships. Throughout the animal kingdom, some of the cleverest creatures – including humans – seem to be those who live in complex social groups, like dolphins, elephants and apes. Could the skills required to keep track of friend and foe make animals smarter? To find out, NOVA goes inside the social lives of some of the smartest animals on the planet.


Your Inner Fish Your Inner Monkey at 9 pm
Our primate progenitors had bodies a lot like those of modern monkeys and spent tens of millions of years living in trees. From them we inherited our versatile hands, amazing vision and capable brains – but also some less beneficial traits, including our bad backs and terrible sense of smell.